Most people see the Nupe Cultural Costume, made up of the three different colours of blue, green and red today without really knowing the history behind the recent emergence of this Nupe Cultural Costume. Fortunately enough, the history of this Nupe Cultural Costume that has become exceedingly popular among the Nupe masses and the elite alike have been dully and fully documented right from day one.
Hajiya Adama Idris, who should be rightly credited as the ‘Founding Mother of the Nupe Cultural Costume’ is actually working on an entire book on how the Nupe Cultural Costume came about.
But before Hajiya Adama Idris book is formally out these are from my files as the Secretary of the Movement for the Creation of Edu State Committee that produced the popular ‘Nupe Cultural Colours Costume’ that is so popular today in the form of caps, mufflers, sash, etc, etc among Nupencizhi. I bet you the details are as revealing as they made a good reading. I didn’t edit anything and presented it verbatim the way I wrote it way back in 2009.
Signed: Dr. Ndagi Abdullahi
FIRST REPORT OF THE COSTUME SUB-COMMITTEE OF THE PUBLICITY COMMITTEE OF THE MOVEMENT FOR THE CREATION OF EDU STATE
The Publicity Committee of the Central Working Committee for the Creation of Edu State had a meeting at the residence of Alhaji Y.Y. Sani on Sunday the 12th of April, 2009. The meeting started around 12 pm and lasted till around 5 pm.
At a time in the course of the meeting the theme of the discussions and debates at the meeting got centred on the issue of what colours of stripes should be adopted for the national costume of the Nupe Nation. It was a lively and rather hot debate as there were dissenting and varying views as to what colours should be adopted.
At length Alhaji Y.Y. Sani, the chairman of the meeting, decided to set up a sub-committee on the costume issue. Hajiya Adama Idris was appointed as the chairperson of the sub-committee with Alhaji Mustapha Ndanusa, Hajiya Zainab Ndaliman, Dr. Ndagi Abdullahi as other members of the sub-committee on costume.
The members in attendance at the meeting had no problem accepting blue as one of the colours to be adopted. The blue stripe was suggested by Hajiya Adama Idris who pointed out that blue is the colour of Edu, the River Niger.
But the members at the meeting had problem reaching unanimity on the acceptance of the colours red, black, green, yellow and white.
Hajiya Adama Idris condemned red as a colour of danger and riot. Majority of the members at the meeting agreed that red is not ideal as a national colour of the Nupe Nation.
But Dr. Ndagi Abdullahi was in favour of the red colour. He pointed out that red is a colour deeply ingrained in the national psyche and culture of the Nupe people.
Majority of the members at the meeting also agreed that black should not be added to the list of the Nupe national colours.
But Alhaji Y.Y. Sani, as the chairman of the meeting, insisted that the costume must not have more than two colours. So, the meeting was left with the option of choosing between the three colours green, yellow and white.
The meeting was divided between different members going for different colours. Alhaji Baba Aminu, Alhaji Yahaya S. Dangana, Hajiya Adama Idris, and others, were in support of yellow. Alhaji Yahaya S. Dangana demonstrated that it represent the golden bronze colour of the Bida brass works at Masaga.
Alhaji Shaba Sule, Alhaji Yahaya Babanangi (popularly known as ‘YAB), and others were in support of the green colour. Actually Alhaji Shaba Sule was the first to suggest the green colour as he demonstrated that it represents the greenery of the agriculture with which the Nupe Nation is noted.
Some others supported the white colour.
In the end Alhaji Y.Y. Sani, had to call for a voting by show of hands. The voting immediately revealed that majority of the members at the meeting were in support of the green colour. Accordingly, green was eventually chosen as the second colour to accompany the blue that have been unanimously agreed upon previously.
So, the Publicity Committee resolved that the Nupe national costume is to have blue and green as its two stripes of colours.
Afterwards the Publicity Committee, under the chairmanship of Alhaji Y.Y. Sani, charged the costume sub-committee, headed by Hajiya Adama Idris, to procure samples of the Nupe national custom with the adopted colours, namely, blue and green.
After that the Publicity Committee continued with its meeting which eventually ended around 5 pm.
The Costume Sub-Committee met after the general meeting of the Publicity Committee. At that Sub-Committee meeting it was decided that members of the Sub-Committee will immediately go into the town to look for both the coloured threads for the costume and the local weavers of the traditional costume within Bida metropolis.
Hajiya Adama Idris, after chairing the meeting for a while, had to leave as she was going for a function in Minna. Alhaji Mustapha Ndanusa, Hajiya Zainab Ndaliman and Dr. Ndagi Abdullahi were left in attendance.
Dr. Ndagi Abdullahi also subsequently left the meeting for some pressing affairs.
Alhaji Mustapha Ndanusa and Hajiya Zainab Ndaliman later on did went into the town and met the local weavers of the traditional costumes. After seeing the threads and after discussing with the weavers, Alhaji Mustapha Ndanusa and Hajiya Zainab Ndaliman went back to Alhaji Y.Y. Sani who used his computer to demonstrate the design and size of the coloured stripes on the costumes to the sub-committee members.
The meeting between members of the Costume Sub-Committee and Alhaji Y.Y. Sani ended around 10 pm.
The next day Monday, 13th of April, 2009, the meeting of the Costume Sub-Committee continued in Minna at Alhaji Baba Aminu’s house. There Alhaji Yahaya S. Dangana and other non-members of the sub-committee added their suggestions to the Costume Sub-Committee members as regards to the width and height of the traditional costumes to be made by the local weavers.
It was suggested that there should be a standard width, of three hand spans, out of which different apparels, including caps, mufflers, handkerchiefs, women headgears, and others can variously be made out of.
At that same time Mrs. Sarah Jibrin and Alhaji Y.Y. Sani had a meeting in Bida on the issue of the Nupe national costume. Mrs. Sarah Jibrin maintained that the red colour should be included in the Nupe national costume.
As a matter of fact Mrs. Sarah Jibrin insisted that the red colour is the national and traditional colour of the Nupe people – the same defence Dr. Ndagi Abdullahi had proffered at the last meeting the previous day on Sunday the 12th of April, 2009.
Mrs. Sarah Jibrin’s suggestion is that the red colour should replace the green colour.
Alhaji Y.Y. Sani later on went to His Royal Highness, Alhaji Dr. Yahaya Abubakar, the Etsu Nupe, and informed His Royal Highness of the entire discussions and suggestions that have been tendered regarding the colours of the stripes for the Nupe national costume.
Interestingly enough His Royal Highness, after listening to all the suggestions so far, suggested that red and white should be the only colours for the Nupe national costume.
Alhaji Y.Y. Sani got back to Alhaji Mustapha Ndanusa to inform members of the Costume Sub-Committee on the suggestions in support of red colour made by Mrs. Sarah Jibrin and His Royal Highness the Etsu Nupe.
Ultimately the Costume Sub-Committee decided that the three different samples suggested by the various schools of thought should be produced. These are the blue and green of the Publicity Committee, the blue and red of Mrs. Sarah Jibrin and the white and red of the Etsu Nupe.
The Costume Sub-Committee then spent the next one or so week working with the local weavers to produce the three different Nupe national costumes that have been suggested.
From these interaction with the local weavers it became very clear that the production of the standard width, of three hand spans, last for approximately five days and costs approximately One Thousand Five Hundred Naira (N1,500;00).
On Saturday the 18th of April, 2009, members of the Costume Sub-Committee met at Alhaji Mustapha Ndanusa’s house in Bida from around 5 pm to 6.30 pm. At that meeting, headed by Hajiya Adama Idris, the members of the Sub-Committee finalised their deliberations on their assigned mission of procuring samples of the Nupe national costume. The sub-committee also wrote this final report to be submitted, together with the costume samples, to the Publicity Committee today, Sunday the 19th of April, 2009.
Dr. Ndagi Abdullahi, Secretary, Costume Sub-Committee.
SECOND REPORT OF THE COSTUME SUB-COMMITTEE OF THE PUBLICITY COMMITTEE OF THE MOVEMENT FOR THE
CREATION OF EDU STATE
The Publicity Committee of the Central Working Committee for the Creation of Edu State had a meeting at the residence of Alhaji Y.Y. Sani on Sunday the 19th of April, 2009. The meeting started around 12 pm and lasted till around 3 pm.
After discussing other issues, the meeting eventually became focussed on the Nupe National Costume. First the Chairman of the Costume Sub-committee, Hajiya Adama Idris, was asked by the Chairman of the Publicity Committee to present the report of the Costume Sub-committee. She in turned asked her secretary to read out the report which he did.
Ambassador Solomon Yisa spoke in opposition to the idea of maintain only two colours for the Nupe National Costume. The Chairman’s defence was not convincing to the Ambassador.
Alhaji Yahaya S. Dangana, the Ratibi Nupe, also supported three colours and noted that with the acceptance of three colours the red colour can conveniently accommodated into the list of three colours.
Alhaji Sule Shaba suggested the red should be a single broad band strand in the middle of a costume with small strands of green and blue alternating out to the edges on both sides of the broad band red.
But Amb. Yisa and Muhammed Haruna opposed the idea of a single band of red in the middle of the costume. They suggested there should be several strands of the red colour.
To all these the Ratibi Nupe suggested that the red strand should simply be an additional strand to the two earlier green and blue, that is, the pattern should now be green, blue and red alternating throughout the breadth of the costume.
Hajiya Adama Idris was stood up and still rejected the red colour. But both Hajiya Balkisu Ndanusa and Muhammed Haruna supported the red colour. Muhammed Haruna actually went further to explain that red is a national colour of the Nupe people.
The Chairman, Engr. Y.Y. Sani, then spent some time explaining why he had to inform both Sarah Jibrin and the Etsu Nupe about the Nupe National Costume earlier than scheduled by the members of the Publicity Committee. Later on he spoke about why he supported the idea of only two colours for the costume.
But Muhammed Haruna countered by pointing out that the three-coloured pattern suggested by the Ratibi Nupe is better than the Chairman’s two colours.
Some other members, however, suggested that the red strand should only come up after every six strands of alternating green and blue – making the red the seventh.
Amb. Yisa maintained the tripled-coloured designed of green-blue-red is the best.
In view of the ensuing debate it was generally agreed in the end that three different samples of the costume should be produced by the Costume Sub-committee.
Alhaji Yahaya A. Babanangi explained the three different samples. The first sample should be the one with a broad red band in the middle of the costume flanked by strands of alternating green and blue. The second should be that of six strands of alternating green and blue with red as the seventh strand. The third should be that of a green-blue-red alternating strands throughout the breadth of the costume.
After the general meeting of the Publicity Committee the Costume Sub-committee immediately had a closet meeting at the same venue. The Costume Sub-committee members reviewed the suggested samples.
Engr. Y.Y. Sani later on joined the meeting of the Costume Sub-committee members. He suggested that only two samples should be produced. He said there is no need for the production of the first sample with the broad-band red colour in the middle of the costume.
After the meeting the Chairperson of the Costume Sub-committee spent the next week attending to the production of the two suggested samples. She went to and personally interacted with the various traditional weavers in Bida metropolis.
On the 2nd of May, 2009, the Cultural Revival Sub-committee of the Publicity Committee met at Ambassador Solomon Yisa’s residence in Minna. There the Costume Sub-committee members were asked to present samples of the costumes they have produced.
The Chairperson of the Costume Sub-committee, Hajiya Adama Idris, showcased a number of Nupe traditional clothes including Edeko Bayawo and Edeko Nyizagi with its variety of types including Salu and Ekwa Yeko.
The Chairperson then brought out the two samples of the Nupe National Costume that she was asked to go and produced at the last meeting of the Publicity Committee. The first sample was that of the green-blue-red alternating pattern. The second sample was that of the six alternating green and blue with red as the seventh stripe. There was an immediate and general acceptance of the first sample by members of the Cultural Revival Committee.
Dr. Ndagi Abdullahi, Secretary, Costume Sub-Committee.